Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Democrats' Circular Firing Squad

The Democratic Party should be crowing right about now. We have the first truly viable woman running for president. She is accomplished, confident, experienced, and has an amazing political pedigree. We have the first truly viable African American running for president. He is inspiring, committed, challenges the status quo, and appeals across racial and party lines. Democrats should be -- as the song says -- dancin' in the streets in celebration of this bounty. Could anyone have predicted that the one white guy in the race would be the also-ran? The afterthought? And, potentially, the spoiler for either front-running, history-making candidate? Uh, nope. And that guy bringing up the rear ain't no slouch either -- he was the Veep nominee last time around.

It's the Democratic Party that produced this wondrous constellation of candidates. Holy smokes, Batman, it's a big-tent party! Pats on the back all around. Let's all sit back and enjoy a spirited debate that makes the eventual winner a stronger candidate, and gives the party a better platform. Go Team! Then, we'll enjoy the spoils of our hard won unity and diversity, and use them to march on down to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and take back the People's House from this imperial president and his stormtrooper disciples.

But wait. Too easy, Drill Sargent, too easy! Too sensible. Booorrrriinnggg. That kind of unity might actually put a Democrat -- any Democrat -- in the White House, even in the face of an increasingly intimidating McCain juggernaut. Why the hell would we want to do that when we could be miserable for another four -- maybe eight -- years? Because we're Democrats, and we're even better at shooting ourselves in the foot than the Republicans are at swift-boating us. Don't look now, but we're reloading the shotgun again -- with divisive rhetoric, personal smears, and underhanded tactics. And it's ugly, folks -- and liable to get uglier if the candidates don't take a good hard look in the mirror, rein in their surrogates (this means you, too, Bill), and quit cutting their nose off to spite their face. Either that or their mama needs to hit them upside the head. Hard. Really, whatever works is okay with me.

Yes, indeed, it's time for the donkeys to get a good swift kick in the ass. It's not too late to salvage this thing, and come back together as a party when the dust has settled. But if the contenders and their camps keep up this circular firing squad for much longer, the damage might well be beyond repair. There are no choir boys -- or choir girls -- here. Everyone is slinging mud of questionable origins and validity. The problem is, mud sticks to everyone eventually -- and true or not, fair or not, at the end of the day the voters will see only the dirt.

1 comment:

majestic said...

Agree with your basic point, Zaftig. However the first viable woman candidate is married to an ex-president that isn't acting very presidential! This is her campaign and she is responsible for the actions of people who campaign on her behalf.

Let Hillary and Barak go at it fair and square -- about policy not personal attacks. And may the best candidate win!